It seems to be my month for consulting on projects which have hunkered down in people's notebooks for fifteen or twenty years, refusing either to get past a design hump or to yield gracefully into "not gonna do this game" status.
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Bleed as a term has arisen in and around the safety-techniques discussion of the past decade; I'm not sure who coined it or in what context. It concerns strong and possibly aversive or uncontrollable emotions that well up during play. If I'm not mistaken, at least sometimes it's identified as undesirable or unsafe.
Nothing but crazy talk in this post. For one thing, it's back to that strange little collection of games about religion. I've added their updated forms as attachments if you don't mind never getting back the hour or two of reading them.
One of the sessions I played at IndieCON was for Edoardo Cremaschi's Marks on the Skin (you may remember him from Little Katy's Tea Party in Consulting). I am wondering whether it is really good for a person to play several Cremaschi and Pettersson games in a short span of time, as each designer quite likes his Bleed and apparently wakes up each morning with a new idea for invoking it.
Stefano first talked with me about this game about a year and a half ago, at Modena Play. At the time, he was anxious about how it might be received, about whether or how one might be designated unsuited or ineligible for authoring such a thing, and about representation in general. Dozens of playtests later, and having weathered at least one internet storm based on exactly those things, he's not anxious any more. He's certain now - and pissed off in the very best way.